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Illegal Immigration

>Open Discussion on Illegal Immigration

>A discussion on illegal immigration began to emerge in the comments section of the post, The GOP field of participants, post-Fred. I thought it would be good to continue and expand the conversation here. Come one, come all!

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Discussion

20 thoughts on “>Open Discussion on Illegal Immigration

  1. >Jeff Wright’s comments resonate with me. I believe in secure borders and national sovereignty as much as voiced by Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. Yet in the name of Christ I have had illegal immigrants in my home and have been prepared to provide aid to others. There is very much a human face to this and the situation was created because our government allowed the problem to begin in the first place. The cynic in me says illegal immigration developed because the Republicans wanted cheap labor and the Democrats wanted cheap votes. That, coupled with the trendy nonsense that nationalism is obsolete. If you’re poor in Mexico and you are ambitious and you know that there are wonderful opportunities in Estados Unidos and that U.S. authorities will wink at your sneaking over the border, what is the rational thing to do? You go there. And the government and businesses give you all kinds of assistance and you get jobs unimaginable in Mexico and you buy a house and car and raise a family in this wonderful rich country. Then all of a sudden everything changes. Now you suffer the consequences of the government attempting to rectify its previous policies. Of course, one can say “You should have known the consequences of going to the U.S. illegally.” But how, when government and business welcome you? And your background is in a nation where personal influence and/or corruption are a way of life as compared to the rule of law.I don’t know what the answer is. Back in the ‘80s the Reagan administration in effect said, “Okay, we let this happen so we’ll give amnesty to the three million illegal immigrants and allow no more.” But no one followed up.My attitude is that the United States, like every other country, should control its borders. I don’t know how to respond to what to do about all the people here illegally. In the meantime, my personal obligation regarding the people I come face-to-face with is to be an ambassador for my ultimate country, the kingdom of God.

    Posted by Mike Landry | June 21, 2008, 4:39 pm
  2. >Jeff,I’m with you! I understand you are generating interest here.I would say the primary issue I am thinking of is how do we (the believing community) begin to look at some of these issues such as illegal immigration through a gospel lens rather than a political lens.We all have political views and I think it is right to do so. I hope everyone reading this knows you and I both and realize our relationship. Jeff is a VERY dear friend of mine and we have discussed issues like this before! And I think you know how I have felt about this very one. However, lately, I have tried to re-examine where I stand on things as I felt like I was just getting swept up in a consensus opinion and not really thinking some things through on my own.

    Posted by Mark Mathews | January 25, 2008, 10:17 pm
  3. >”Perhaps these questions are a little more leading than what I proposed in my story. I never said the church was or should be a safe haven for illegals. This is getting back to generalities and blanket statements.”Mark, I posted those two separate questions in an attempt to generate some further discsussion on the subject. Only a couple people have responded to what we have posted so far so I thought I’d bring in some other elements to see if that would draw others into the discussion. The question you asked in the other post, “what would you do,” was not addressed by anyone else thus far so I raised the question again. The other question related to the article I posted raised yet another issue related to the church and illegal immigration. Neither one had anything to do with what I do or do not think about where you stand on illegal immigration. I used your question as a jumping off point for discussion. Hope that explains why I posted those two questions.”You’re still not dealing with the issue.”Again, those two questions really didn’t have anything to do with an attempt to address an issue. As the admin of the blog, I wanted to generate interest and try to facilitate some more discussion on this issue so raised those two questions. What do you think the issue is? Perhaps that will give us something specific to focus on as we (the readers of the blog) continue to discuss this broad topic.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 25, 2008, 8:58 pm
  4. >”Perhaps these questions are a little more leading than what I proposed in my story. I never said the church was or should be a safe haven for illegals. This is getting back to generalities and blanket statements.”They are two separate questions unrelated to one another other than the fact that they both address issues related to illegal immigration.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 25, 2008, 8:31 pm
  5. >Perhaps these questions are a little more leading than what I proposed in my story. I never said the church was or should be a safe haven for illegals. This is getting back to generalities and blanket statements.You’re still not dealing with the issue. Needless to say, I have told you what I have done and what I would do again a hundred times over. If I knew of an illegal gang member who was out killing people and robbing stores, I would probably do something different. Each situation must be looked at on it’s own. Your question is too general.

    Posted by Mark Mathews | January 25, 2008, 7:27 pm
  6. >What have you done / would you do if you knew someone who was an illegal immigrant? Would you make a phone call to turn them in? Why or why not?Of course not. I haven’t and wouldn’t for several reasons:1. The authorities wouldn’t care and would likely put me on their crank list for wasting their time. That reality may change in the future and I can imagine scenarios in which I would report someone to the authorities but, as a general rule for those who are well-established in the community, probably not.2. The perspective of those I’ve known, studied, and worshiped with (their “legal” children actually) has been influential. I want no part in injustice against them.

    Posted by robert | January 25, 2008, 5:56 pm
  7. >2. Do you approve or disapprove of the idea of churches being “sanctuaries” for illegal immigrants? Some take that to mean that the church can be a safe place for illegal immigrants to turn themselves in to the authorities. Others (probably more common) take it to mean that the church is a place where the people actively oppose government efforts to take action to apprehend illegal immigrants and offer them assistance in various ways.Related:Help for immigrants divides US faithfulExcerpt – “Days later, with just a phone call for warning, dozens of desperate immigrants fleeing a massive raid on a nearby poultry plant turned up on the church’s doorstep, seeking sanctuary.Kreps let them in, and members of his overwhelmingly white congregation sprang into action. Some brought food; some set up space in the gym and a choir room in which the immigrants could sleep.”Someone slipped me $100 to buy stuff,” Kreps recalls as he stands in the now-quiet church kitchen where the meals were prepared. It was a tense night as scared families and Kreps himself worried police or federal agents might come knocking.’I wasn’t real clear legally whether authorities could come into a place of worship,” he says. “But we saw it as ‘What would Jesus do?’ in the simplest way — that you help first and you ask questions later.'”

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 25, 2008, 5:00 pm
  8. >I thought I’d raise a couple questions to keep the discussion going if anyone is interested.1. What have you done / would you do if you knew someone who was an illegal immigrant? Would you make a phone call to turn them in? Why or why not?Context from other thread where this discussion began:Mark – “When I was in Bible college, I was the director of a homeless shelter for 2 years. I dealt with the dregs of society. In our mission we had a clothing store where we sold second hand clothes. I had a young Hispanic couple (David and Rosie) who came in every Friday and spent $100-$200 on clothes and they sold them in the Hispanic community. They had a precious 4 year old son who came with them most days. They were a great couple and I really got to know them well over a year period of time. They began to come to the Bible studies I would have and subsequently they both came to faith in Christ through that ministry. They always attended the chapel services on Sunday and continued to come to the Bible studies. They weren’t homeless or anything but kept coming to those services. I invited them time and time again to come to our church (the one that owned the mission) but they continually refused. One day I asked them why. David told me that he and his wife were here illegally and they were afraid to attend our church for fear they would be deported. Now what do I do? Pack them up in a truck and take them to the border and let them out? Fly them back to Mexico and say good luck my friend? Here’s the dilemma, I knew these people to be fellow believers, industrious people who worked everyday to make a living, responsible people trying to make in our country. I also knew that they were illegals and that they got here by breaking the law. Do I turn them in? Do I tell them because they are believers they now have to surrender to the authorities and make it the best way they can? I’m not sure what the right answer is. But I can tell you I didn’t turn them in. I did tell them that what they did was wrong. I also told them that I know our God is a forgiving God and that He loves them regardless. I told them they would have to come to their own conclusions. But their biggest fear was for the safety and care of their son. What would you do?”

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 25, 2008, 5:00 pm
  9. >Forced deportation by the government may not be plausible but deportation through attrition and enforcement of the laws is quite possible. If we actually enforce the laws and make it impossible for illegal immigrants to get jobs they will leave on their own. They come for the jobs and the ‘perks’…when they realize they are no longer availible to them, many of them will leave on their own, imo.

    Posted by J.Wizzle | January 24, 2008, 11:46 pm
  10. >In the 90’s, I was one of those who was always tempted to go 3rd party when the nominee did not meet my standards. I was a Buchanan Brigader and wanted him to run 3rd party when he lost the nomination to Bob Dole. I supported him 2000 when he was trying to build a conservative party through the Reform Party. I changed my vote to Bush two days before the election when it was clear that Buchanan would not get the votes needs to earn certain benefits for the Reform Party the next time around.I bring that up to comment on talk radio in all of this. I always hated it when Michael Medved would flat out make fun of those who supported 3rd party candidates. Bottom line is, I finally became convinced of the wisdom of his view. In politics, if you don’t win, you don’t get to influence the nation with your principles. Voting 3rd party may feel good but it won’t win and you will have no influence in the government. Likewise, I have not appreciated his perspective on illegal immigration in the past. Bottom line, I have become convinced of the wisdom of some aspects of his view, namely, that it is impossible to deport all illegal aliens (all that to finally get back around to the subject!). It may be ideal to deport each illegal alien but it will never happen. Politics is the art of the possible (as Otto von Bismarck once said). Full scale deportation is not possible and should not be a current political option. I say all that to say that I give kudos to Michael Medved, one of the more moderate conservative talk radio hosts out there (and a McCain supporter, by the way) and that we need to explore realistic options not just the most conservative or idealistic ones. I am open to hearing what McCain has to say on this.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 24, 2008, 9:51 pm
  11. >Jeff,I agree with what you say about the current American citizens who need the available resources and the illegal immigrants stifling the system. I know how frustrating this is. Don’t forget, I lived there with you in Dallas for four years and you and I have both suffered some of the same frustrations. As you rightly pointed out in your previous analogy, this can become a very serious problem if something is not done. What I don’t like is how McCain is treated as a softy on this issue by the talk shows as if he is an idiot. John McCain is nobody’s fool! The guy is 71 years old for crying out loud. He’s finished trying to impress people and he’s not the kind of guy who is really interested in whether he is following the party agenda. He is actually trying to approach this thing in as calm a fashion as one can. We have allowed this to happen over a long period of time. So it’s a matter of “shame on us,” not “shame on the immigrants.” We could have and should have taken greater measures long ago. But we didn’t. Now we have this huge problem to deal with. I just think we need to keep our cool, think about the needs of others, and try to deal with this in as humanely a way as possible.What is most important now is that we don’t get caught up in all the talk radio hoopla. These people have to blow everything out of proportion to meet ratings expectations. When it all comes down to it, that is what it is about with them. I just want to say that out of the group that remains in the GOP, I would have to side with McCain!

    Posted by Mark Mathews | January 24, 2008, 9:32 pm
  12. >”Mine is a call for those who have heard the call of the ministry of the Gospel to have unpopular compassion for unpopular people.”I agree and if “being a conservative” is impeding this, our conservatism is to submit to this call.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 24, 2008, 8:14 pm
  13. >”As far as I know, there is no biblical mandate for setting government policy. What I do find is a call for compassion toward others, and not just those that we think are deserving. Grace is for those who “don’t” deserve it. We are told throughout Scripture by our Savior and all of the NT writers to show grace, compassion and love toward one another. And remember the socio-poiltical environment they were operating in! We, of all people, those who are called to Christian ministry, surely wouldn’t put developing and setting government policy alongside, above, or anywhere close to the mandate of our Savior, who always acted politically incorrect, would we? May it never be!!!”We agree on more than we disagree. No, I would not place this mandate below setting government policies. We have to work through the tension of our dual citizenships as Christians. Can we affirm the mandate of our Savior that you have rightfully pointed out (the so-called heavenly citizenship) while also exercising the provisions of our American (earthly) citizenship to call for the government to seal the border, prosecute employers who break the law by hiring illegal citizens, and, at least, deport the illegals who have broken the law (a second time if you count breaking into the country)? Can I commit myself to both with a clear conscience before the Lord? We can love the alien in our midst as we obey Christ and love our fellow citizens as we seek ways to stop the damage being done as a result of illegal immigration.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 24, 2008, 8:11 pm
  14. >I knew someone would jump on that point! That’s what I get for typing that in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. You are right. The analogy was not very good. It raises more problems than it helps to solve. It raises a sore spot because we do so little to help the homeless. I figured someone would say, ‘yes, this is what the church is supposed to be like.’ This is a part of what the church should be like, I agree, and it is a part we neglect. We are also commanded to teach, baptize, and make disciples and I was wondering last night as I wrote this what the fulfillment of this command would look like if the demand of waiting tables, so to speak, turned the local church into a fulltime homeless shelter. I realize that the argument could be made that the teaching, baptizing, and making disciples could be done in the context of the ministry to the homeless. So, I am properly chastised and will withdraw my analogy. One of the things I was trying to do, inadequately, was point out how illegal immigrants (homeless) are not cared for in a vacuum but the unmanageable burden of caring for illegal immigrants has negative, unintended consequences for American citizens (hypothetical church members). There are existing citizens who need WIC, government health insurance for children, etc. There are existing citizens who need hospitals. There are existing citizens who pay taxes for their children to be educated in public school. These benefits are open to illegal aliens and the strain on these systems has become tremendous. The strain ends up damaging these systems and now everyone begins to suffer. Is this compassion? Maybe so but it looks like compassion for the illegal immigrant at the expense of the citizen due to the exhaustion of our resources and damage to our systems of care. Now one of the comparisons I was trying to make was between the unintended consequences of caring for illegal immigrants on needy citizens as compared to the unintended consequences on the (immature? & children) members of the hypothetical congregation who have been denied the ministry of the Word and Table since these things have been neglected in favor of fulltime homeless shelter duties. Again, it does not need to be either/or, as Mark has rightly pointed out, so my illustration worked out poorly. And the care to the homeless would probably never get to point of having these negative consequences so it was a fanciful illustration. I was trying to highlight the unintended negative consequences on the needy members of the community while the leaders of the community are trying to minister to the alien in the midst of the community with this questions – is it right to allow this to happen to these members of the community? Also, you know where I stand on the corporate nature of churches so you know I wasn’t trying to promote or defend that! Thanks for keeping me in line, bro.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 24, 2008, 8:01 pm
  15. >Mark (first post) makes a good point. Has anyone else noticed that (with the exception of Texas) in states where there actually are large populations of undocumented workers that the Hannity/Limbaugh bluster is seen as ridiculously ignorant and hard-hearted? Even the Minuteman movement (which was born in my county) recognizes that the problem is with federal policy and not with the immigrants. The situation really does look different on the ground than it does from a distance via AM radio. The presence of these folks in our country is a result of our own policies (economic mostly), not of rampant lawbreaking. Why is nothing done? Not because of bleeding hearts, but because things are exactly the way those who pull the strings want them to be. If you don’t like the current state of affairs (and obviously none of us do) then the causes must be addressed rather than the symptoms; and they’re largely in Washington, not on the border or across it.

    Posted by robert | January 24, 2008, 5:48 pm
  16. >Jeff,I agree, your analogy suffers incredibly. In fact, I would have to say if your ministry was struggling “helping people,” particularly the poor, you might actually be doing what the Bible mandates as far as having compassion on the poor (an idea the Bible is replete with) rather than trying to run a church as a sound business (not that you have to choose either.) And that is precisely the case, you are presenting this as an either/or situation. I was providing a story that I thought would help those who dehumanize the situation to understand that real people are involved here, not just “illegals” as a generic definition. So allow me to clarify my position as this has gone very far from where I intended. I think we have a very serious problem with illegal immigrants in the US. Many of them are committing horrendous crimes, they are certainly ending up on the welfare payrolls, and if we continue to allow them to come in at record numbers the problem will only get worse. Something must be done. My point initially is that I think McCain has a more balanced approach than the knee-jerk sensationalist mantra coming out of the mouths of Hannity and Limbaugh and their wanna-be’s. The problem cannot be fixed in one move. One has to “begin” to deal with the problem before it will be corrected. Moreover, I like a more compassionate approach than “throw them all out.”This leads to my main point. You made the following comment in your previous post: “Share the Gospel with them. Show them love and mercy. But setting our national policy is another matter” As far as I know, there is no biblical mandate for setting government policy. What I do find is a call for compassion toward others, and not just those that we think are deserving. Grace is for those who “don’t” deserve it. We are told throughout Scripture by our Savior and all of the NT writers to show grace, compassion and love toward one another. And remember the socio-poiltical environment they were operating in! We, of all people, those who are called to Christian ministry, surely wouldn’t put developing and setting government policy alongside, above, or anywhere close to the mandate of our Savior, who always acted politically incorrect, would we? May it never be!!!But that is the mantra from conservative evangelicals these days. It’s almost as if conservative Republican ideas are automatically assumed to be Christian or biblical in some way. Well, they’re not! And when they become anti-biblical, I withdraw! No matter what the issue. No matter who agrees. No matter if I’m the only one. And dealing with people in such a harsh manner is certainly not a biblical notion. We, as ministers of the Gospel should take our mandate from our Savior, which I repeat has NOTHING to do with the letter of the law (setting policy) but grace and compassion. Now, that said, I am, or at least have considered myself to be a conservative evangelical and a conservative republican but am more than willing to separate with any affiliation that begins to treat people poorly. Whatever the reason! As your last analogy clearly shows, helping dirty homeless people who just want a handout (typical view) is not a priority for the church. In fact, it appears that after you help so many of them it just downright gets in the way! This shows a misconception about homeless people. Sure, there are those who panhandle all day, but there are also some good people who have mental problems, have fallen on financial hardships, struggle with alcoholism, etc that have come to faith but simply cannot make their way back into society. I have experienced it first hand dealing with them. What the analogy shows is that we tend to categorize people as “homeless” or “illegals” and lose sight that they are people. And it also shows that since they are undesirables they tend to get in the way of “real” ministry.My friend, Jesus Christ made a point to minister to this very crowd. He intentionally ministered to the needy, the broken, the social outcasts, all to the dismay of the religious groups around him. We should follow his lead. And friends, it DIFFICULT to minister to undesirables. It’s easy dealing with the typical American evangelical. They only have a few problems here and there. The undesirables are rife with problems. I will conclude. I agree there is a problem and we need to “begin” to deal with it. I think McCain takes that approach. For those who claim to Christians and take the “deport them all now” attitude, I think they lose sight that there are situations that need to be addressed first. These are families with children we are talking about. Not all of them are thugs.It strikes me as funny that a man who doesn’t claim to be a Christian (as far I know) wants to exercise grace and compassion on those old dirty immigrants and many Christians are standing in crowds saying, “Throw them all out! They don’t belong here.”I just think it’s time to take off the conservative “political” hat and put on the “minister of the Gospel” hat and begin to think compassionately.I am not trying to cause battle either and I think this is great discussion. Mine is a call for those who have heard the call of the ministry of the Gospel to have unpopular compassion for unpopular people.

    Posted by Mark Mathews | January 24, 2008, 3:23 pm
  17. >I also said:”If that sounds harsh, let me come at it another way with a comparison. You are the pastor of the church. The church has a budget based on the tithes and offerings that typically are given. One day, a homeless man named Jim shows up at the church. You talk to him and find out he has an incredible story. He is even a believer. He has needs so, even though it is illegal to panhandle, you decided to use some of the outreach funds to give Jim some money and buy him some food. Probably a good choice. Not a big deal.The next week Jim shows up with a couple friends. You help them. Soon the word gets out and many homeless are coming to your church for help. You continue to help them but its putting a strain on your time, facilities, and the church budget. People are beginning to get concerned. Local shelters and missions find out what you are doing and actually begin to encourage the homeless there to come to your church instead. To keep up with the need you close several ministries and fire the associate pastor. Caring for the homeless is now taking up a considerable amount of the church’s time and resources. The people of the church are very concerned. They don’t like the idea of throwing people like Jim out on the street but they just cannot keep doing what they are doing. Should they take everyone’s name and continue to care for the ones who are already coming and turn away all new people? Should they stop altogether and send everyone over to the local mission? Or should they continue things as they are and deal with the consequences as they come (which very well could mean closing the church for good)? Are any of these options unloving, cruel?This may not be the greatest comparison to illegal immigrants in America but it is a complex situation and there are serious consequences for allowing things to continue as they are in the name of compassion. I agree that we don’t want political ideology to override Christian principle and mandate but I don’t think handling the illegal immigration problem necessarily has to be done in an anti-biblical, anti-Christian way. The question – where is the love for the illegal immigrants? – could also be joined with the question – where is the love for American families across the entire nation and our families who will come after us?That being said, the stereotype of the uncompassionate conservative is out there for a reason. I will not pretend that we are handling the situation as best as we could. We do need to seriously reflect on what we are doing and what we ought to be doing about illegal immigrants in our communities and the issue of illegal immigration as a whole. Good discussion! I am not trying to turn this into a battle, by the way. Just trying to push back on ideas and offer an alternative persective. And, as Nate says, perhaps a synthesis can emerge.”And that’s where we left off.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 24, 2008, 1:03 pm
  18. >I said:”To put on my Darth Vader helmet for a moment, personal stories can help us to see things we sometimes overlook but usually make for bad policy. The emotional appeal is strong and the temptation to allow anecdotes to hold more sway than they should is strong as well. We could make a movie out of the story of Ignacio and what he had to endure to get into the United States, find a job, and survive. It would be very influential. Everyone loves a story. It is very humanizing. Meanwhile, hospitals will still be going bankrupt. Federal and state aid agencies will still be overwhelmed. Medicaid, care for the uninsured, food assistance such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches, federal prison, the courts, federal aid to schools…billions of dollars are spent on illegal aliens through these programs. Bad policy will still be imposed against the will of the citizenry. Mexico will still openly encourage and help educate their people to illegally enter the US and demand rights when they get here. We could tell story after story of the Americans who are hurt by all of this. There are faces and names and stories attached to all of this. And one day soon, as we do nothing, systems will collapse. The nation our ancestors worked and sacrificed so hard for generation after generation will continue to be degraded unncessarily because we wouldn’t take responsiblity. That is not a loving course of action.What about the individual illegals we meet? Yes, help them. Encourage them to pursue citizenship. Decide what the church will do as a congregation. Pray from them. Share the Gospel with them. Show them love and mercy. But setting our national policy is another matter. Employers are not to hire illegals. Enforce the law when employers break it. There are illegals who are committing crimes. Deport them. We won’t even do these basic things. Have I said anything unloving so far? I do not think so. I affirm what has been said about the love we ought to show toward our neighbor, including illegals. But it is also loving, humane, and just to take aggressive steps toward changing the current situation.”

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 24, 2008, 1:03 pm
  19. >Gunny said:”Mark, that’s an interesting dilemma. Sitting here in my easy chair my knee-jerk reaction is that they should be encouraged and/or compelled to return home or to “get legal.”However, when you’re talking real people with real families and real issues, I know that black is not so black, etc.For some reason missionaries in Muslim countries illegally came to mind. They’re there as various other things, since missionaries are illegal, but we’re okay with that.I know (1) it’s because it’s not our country or our problem financially and (2) they’re serving Jesus in a way that necessitates a covert op, but that still came to my mind as at least one instance where the government doesn’t deserve a fair shake.I don’t know … is it one of those deals where we say, “Okay, you’re here. You can stay, but let’s do something to minimize this happening.”?That where I find myself, along with the compulsion for the illegal folks to get legal now that they’re here. Maybe give them a grace period to get their citizenship, etc. lest they be sent back.In some way, you’d be giving them a temporary visa.Also, McCain is looking better to me lately. Why does that scare me so? Perhaps I’m finding myself dealing with a case of “the devil you know versus the devil you don’t know.”

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 24, 2008, 1:02 pm
  20. >We can take the conversation in an entirely different direction but here is the background of the discussion from the other post. We were bascially discussing the GOP candidates and where they stood on illegal immigration was brought up.Jonathan said:”Conservatives are ok with immigration, just not ILLEGAL immigration. Supporting illegal immigration, amnesty, etc. (breaking the law and then being rewarded for it)is not a conservative position.”Mark said:”I understand that this is a hotly debated topic but I wonder about the statement that this is not a “conservative” position. I agree wholeheartedly that it is not a conservative position, but it is not as black and white as everyone makes it out to be. Now before I start let me say, I lived in Dallas for 4 years and there was NEVER a day that went by that I wasn’t complaining to my wife about how these illegals are killing half the population, dealing drugs, raping, etc. So I know the issues first hand. But it is not a thing you can deal with wholesale like the Hannity’s (he’s gone way over the top) and others who never give any details, just loud-mouth rhetoric about this issue. Anybody can get on the radio and do that. But let me give you a real life scenario.When I was in Bible college, I was the director of a homeless shelter for 2 years. I dealt with the dregs of society. In our mission we had a clothing store where we sold second hand clothes. I had a young Hispanic couple (David and Rosie) who came in every Friday and spent $100-$200 on clothes and they sold them in the Hispanic community. They had a precious 4 year old son who came with them most days. They were a great couple and I really got to know them well over a year period of time. They began to come to the Bible studies I would have and subsequently they both came to faith in Christ through that ministry. They always attended the chapel services on Sunday and continued to come to the Bible studies. They weren’t homeless or anything but kept coming to those services. I invited them time and time again to come to our church (the one that owned the mission) but they continually refused. One day I asked them why. David told me that he and his wife were here illegally and they were afraid to attend our church for fear they would be deported. Now what do I do? Pack them up in a truck and take them to the border and let them out? Fly them back to Mexico and say good luck my friend? Here’s the dilemma, I knew these people to be fellow believers, industrious people who worked everyday to make a living, responsible people trying to make in our country. I also knew that they were illegals and that they got here by breaking the law. Do I turn them in? Do I tell them because they are believers they now have to surrender to the authorities and make it the best way they can? I’m not sure what the right answer is. But I can tell you I didn’t turn them in. I did tell them that what they did was wrong. I also told them that I know our God is a forgiving God and that He loves them regardless. I told them they would have to come to their own conclusions. But their biggest fear was for the safety and care of their son. What would you do?My point is this, I too am very upset about the number of illegals creeping into our country every day. I lived in it for a long time. But is some kind of amnesty program where each situation is dealt with on a case by case basis more wise than the conservative over-reaction of “throw them all out!” Where is the grace in that? So, the question is, is this a conservative issue or a Christian issue? How do you deal with it as a conservative and how do you deal with it as a Christian? I think we are remiss to let our political grievances and opinions get in the way of being people who love other people. This is a difficult issue and I know I will now be branded a liberal, heretical, Democrat lover. Not the case. I am probably right where you are. But in my heart I know there are situations out there that are different. We should also remember that our being born in America is by providence, not luck, and certainly not of our own doing. It is by God’s providence that we were born in the US and we shouldn’t go throwing that around like we’re owed something.”

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 24, 2008, 1:02 pm

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